Most customer-facing businesses understand that the secret to excelling in today’s cutthroat world is to focus on customer satisfaction. But what that means isn’t always obvious. Some businesses choose to concentrate on touch points, and do everything possible to ensure all customer interactions with the company are seamless and hassle-free. Others take a different route, and focus on providing exemplary service. As well-meaning as both of these approaches may be, they can’t ever guarantee true customer satisfaction as they ignore the customer’s end-to-end journey. And that’s where the customer experience comes in.
Businesses looking to stand out and differentiate themselves from the competition cannot afford to ignore the customer experience. This has become the key to success, giving companies the competitive advantage they may otherwise lack. The customer experience matters because it goes beyond simply providing good service. Instead it focuses on what happens both before and after service has been provided. And this is not only what matters most, but is also what a customer remembers long after service has been provided.
Of course this doesn’t mean a company should neglect customer service. After all customer service has become an integral part of the customer experience. It actually plays a vital role in shaping the overall customer experience. And companies that overlook that will never truly satisfy their customers. Where many companies go wrong is in assuming that only a select group of employees are responsible for providing quality customer service. In order to provide the kind of experience the modern customer expects, every employee regardless of their role needs to focus on providing the best possible customer service. This will go a long way toward creating the kind of experience that customers come back for.
Customer Experience vs Customer Support: What’s the difference?
While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, the customer experience and customer service are actually very different. Customer service refers to what a company does for the customer before or after a purchase has been made. Traditionally customer service is only provided when there is a problem or issue that needs to be resolved. Customer service generally focuses on a specific event, like a product which fails to work. While customer service is only a small part of the customer experience it’s still a powerful opportunity for a company to turn a negative experience into a positive one. It’s for that reason that many companies go all-in when it comes to customer service.
The customer experience is harder to shape and control because it encompasses all the interactions a customer has with a company. Unlike customer service, the customer experience cannot be confined to one particular touch point. The customer experience describes the customer’s journey and includes everything from the initial awareness of the product or service, the purchasing phase as well as the customer’s use of the product or service. All these stages make up the customer experience, and ultimately shape how a customer perceives a company. The customer experience extends beyond the moments when employees are providing service to customers to ensure that every interaction with the company is a positive one.
While the distinction between customer service and the customer experience is important, companies looking to differentiate themselves from the competition need to understand that the two go hand in hand. A company cannot provide quality customer experience without top notch customer service.
A holistic approach to the customer experience
There is no denying the link between the customer experience and a company’s bottom line. In fact it’s estimated that by 2020, customer experience will matter more to most customers than price or product. This is an eye-opening wake up call to all companies.
Gone are the days when a company could choose to focus on customer service alone. Instead companies should consider adopting a holistic approach where all employees do their bit to improve the customer’s experience. And often it’s by adopting technological solutions, like workforce navigation platforms, that companies can provide the best possible customer experience.
An effective workforce navigation platform streamlines the customer’s end-to-end journey. Such platforms go beyond simply providing better service by giving the customer control of their experience. Using workforce navigation software like Timing, a customer would receive real-time updates about the service provider’s ETA. Often these updates are dynamically updated to account for things like traffic and service time. This means there’s no more waiting at home for the service provider to arrive. Technological solutions are one of the best ways to optimize the customer experience, providing the kind of experience most customers have become accustomed to.
The customer experience and all that it encompasses is too important to ignore. Not only does a positive customer experience keep customers satisfied, but it can boost a company’s bottom line. Companies need to adopt a holistic approach to the customer experience which places as much importance on the customer’s end-to-end journey as it does on the service provided.